Celebrate our 50th Anniversary with us!

Fifty years ago, in 1969, our founder, Dr. William Standring, “Doc”, opened Sonitrol of Evansville to help police reduce false alarms and to increase criminal apprehensions. Since then, our location has played an essential role in achieving Sonitrol corporate’s apprehension rate of over 180,140 criminals and counting. What began as one man’s vision of helping police catch criminals has grown into a trusted family of people who value each other, their clients, and their community. We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without the continued support of our customers, fire department, and law enforcement officers alike, which is why we’d like to invite you all to celebrate with us.
We would love to see you on Friday, September 13, 2019 between 11a.m.-2p.m. for our 50thAnniversary Open House. In addition to serving delicious barbecue and sides from our local favorite, Miller’s BBQ Catering, we will be giving tours of our Central Station, the heart of Sonitrol, where our operators work 24 hours a day to monitor our customers’ verified alarms. With the Central Station tour, you will find out how operators listen to live audio feed to determine whether or not to dispatch police. Join us for free barbecue, take a tour of our operation, and celebrate with us. We are excited for the next fifty years to come!

You’re invited!
When: Friday, September 13, 2019
Time: 11a.m.-2p.m.
Where: Sonitrol of Evansville
208 NW Third Street
Evansville, IN 47708

Call us with any questions: (800) 444-1191 or email: info@sonitrolev.com

50th Anniversary flyer

The Three a.m. Wake-up Call

It’s three a.m. You are sound asleep, dreaming about that beach vacation you’re planning. Your toes are in the sand, the waves are gently lapping against the shore, when all of a sudden, an earthquake hits! Wait, it’s not an earthquake. It’s your cellphone buzzing across your nightstand. Why is my phone ringing at three a.m.? I was having the best dream!

No one wants to get that call. If you are a Sonitrol customer, you could be on the receiving end of one of those calls from our Central Station operators. Why? Has there been a break-in at your business? Maybe not. Often times, it’s not your usual suspect. A criminal hasn’t triggered the alarm at your facility. The culprit? An unsecured door, blown open by a summer storm or a gust of wind. Yep. A door.

But doors are great, right? They help protect the people who should be there and keep the noise, weather, unauthorized people, and zombies out. And with a Sonitrol security system at your business or residence, you’ve really added protection to your property, valuables, and loved ones. We’ve installed door contacts so that when your system is armed and a door is opened, our monitoring team will dispatch police.

How do the door contacts work?

A door contact has two components. First, there is the switch part that is attached to the doorframe. It can be wirelessly powered with a battery or wired directly to the security panel. The second part of the contact is a magnet. The two components need to meet up when the door is closed to let the control panel know that the door is shut. The standard allowable gap between the contact and magnet before it goes into alarm is ¾ of an inch. Once the magnet is farther than ¾ of an inch, the alarm point is considered open, and if the system is armed, our operators will be notified.

So how could a door cause a false alarm?

Sometimes, buildings settle, doors become misaligned, screws in hinges become loose, and doors and doorframes swell and shrink with changing seasons. It may sound as unlikely as a zombie knocking down your door, but it’s a common cause of false alarms.

So, what can you do?

  • Make sure all of your doors close properly. Can you pull the door open without turning the doorknob? Is there play in the door? When you pull on the handle, is it tight? Or does it wiggle and move?
  • Check the door hinges. The hinges should be checked to make sure screws have not loosened and the strike plate on the frame is installed properly and not damaged. Make sure the latch on the door is contacting the strike plate on the doorframe.
  • Check the door contact on occasion. Over time, the contact and the magnet can become misaligned or components can become damaged. Are both components of the door contact mounted properly and meeting when the door is closed?

Checking to make sure your doors are closed and secure and fixing older doors will help ensure that your building is protected when you arm the security system. It can increase police safety, too. Police safety? You bet. Avoiding these false alarms keeps our police from rushing across town when it isn’t necessary. On a windy night, or when a summer storm might be rolling in, that extra few minutes to check your doors could help make sure you enjoy those beach vacation dreams and don’t get a three a.m. wake-up call!

peaceful sleep

Protect your business day or night!

Often times, when people think of business security systems, they only consider how an alarm will protect their location after hours. But let’s look at how a verified alarm system, specifically, Sonitrol’s TotalGuard™ alarm, can offer your company, or even your school, protection during your daytime business hours.

You may be wondering…What is TotalGuard™? This is an ALL-IN-ONE intrusion detection solution that includes impact-activated audio, glass break analytics, motion detection and video verification. The TotalGuard™ system has wireless connectivity and complete volumetric intrusion detection. Once armed, which can be done via your Sonitrol Mobile app, the alarm works around the clock to protect your business.

So how can it help you during daytime business hours when it isn’t even armed? When a TotalGuard™ alarm is paired with our unique panic button, our Central Station operators will have instant access to live video and audio feed the moment you press your panic button. A variety of business settings might have need for this sort of set-up, such as gas stations, banks, fast food restaurants, and convenience stores. Here are a few scenarios where this could benefit your company during regular business hours:

  • Unruly individuals. From customers losing tempers to belligerent individuals acting aggressively to your cashier or staff at a gas station or small business shop, in the security business, we’ve seen it all. Sometimes, employees find themselves in a situation that has intensified in an instant, and for the safety of customers and themselves, they need the police there right away. Once they press the panic button, our Central Station operators will see live video and hear live audio feed from the TotalGuard™ system, while simultaneously dispatching police. Our team will give the police details as to what is happening in your business.
  • Active threats. Gas stations, fast food restaurants, convenience stores, jewelry stores, pawn shops, and banks jump to mind as potential targets for hold-ups or active threats. While we hope it never happens, being prepared with a TotalGuard™ alarm and panic button could save lives by providing responding law enforcement with critical information. In the terrible event of a hold-up, a bank teller, for example, can press the panic button and instantly activate our TotalGuard™ camera to allow our operators to relay real time information with live video and audio feed to police as they race to the scene.
  • School threats. By adding a TotalGuard™ camera and panic button to your school office, your front desk staff can alert us the moment something goes wrong, with the press of a button. The instant your school panic button is pressed our Central Station operators will notify police while seeing, recording, and sharing real-time details with law enforcement. This extra level of security can help police secure your campus and protect your students and staff during any school threat.

TotalGuard™ is an affordable camera alarm solution, turned on and off from your Sonitrol Mobile app. Not only will TotalGuard™ provide all-inclusive verified protection for your business after hours, paired with our panic button, it gives you dependable emergency assistance for your employees, customers, students, and company when you’re open for business. For a free consultation with our security professionals and to hear about our zero-down TotalGuard™ installation special, contact us at (800) 444-1191.

 

TG STRIP MALL

Preventing break-ins on summer break…

The countdown is here, and sure enough, in just a few short weeks, students, and teachers alike, will be bursting through school doors across the country, proclaiming three months of freedom. And while the students are away, will the burglars play? Here are a few quick tips to secure your school and prevent a break-in:

  • Use outdoor lights. Make sure your school’s outdoor walkways, entrances, and exits are clearly lit. Motion detector lights are excellent deterrents for potential vandals.
  • Store valuable equipment, such as computers, tablets, and science lab items in interior rooms and away from windows, out of sight from prying eyes.
  • Consider a verified security company versus a traditional alarm company. Unique factors set Sonitrol apart from traditional alarms and help us protect your students, teachers, and campus. As a provider of school security to more than 12,000 schools across North America for over fifty years, the Sonitrol Safe Schools program takes campus security to another level. Here’s how:
  1. We provide state-of-the-art audio detection. With strategically placed audio sensors throughout your facility, you don’t have to worry about your school being unprotected while the students are away. The instant a vandal breaks a window, opens a door, or breaks into your facility through rooftop access or any means, our audio sensors are activated. This means operators in central station immediately begin listening to real-time events and can determine whether it is a false alarm or if a break-in is occurring. They relay this information to law enforcement. Traditional alarms can’t verify what is happening when the motion detectors they depend on are tripped, which causes a high rate of false alarms. Unlike Sonitrol, they can’t be sure an actual break-in is occurring. Also, a unique feature of the Sonitrol alarm is that the criminals won’t even know police are on their way because this is a silent alarm.
  2. We offer managed access control. Using programmed keyless entry, you can decide which employees have permission to enter your facility and through which doors. From day care facilities to college campuses, depending on the number of your staff, this is a huge convenience, during the school year and on summer break. Traditional alarm companies may offer access control, but Sonitrol also offers door prop notification. This means that if a student or staff member intentionally leaves a door propped open, for example, to allow someone to access the school after hours, our operators will receive a notification and contact you about the door. This feature can be programmed according to your specifications. You may, for instance, want door prop notification to alert us after only thirty seconds of a door being open. It’s up to you.
  3. We offer emergency panic buttons. It’s an unfortunate reality, but schools are more vulnerable to violence and crime than ever before. When the students and teachers return after break, Sonitrol can provide unmatched security for any on-campus emergency. Our panic buttons can be placed in common areas around the school, such as the front office, and can even be carried on key chains by administrators. With the press of a button, not only will police be dispatched, the audio sensors will activate to allow operators to listen in during an emergency. This enables them to provide critical details to responding law enforcement. As an extra feature, if you choose to add video surveillance as well, after a panic button has been pressed, operators can watch live feed of your campus. This allows them to provide law enforcement even more information as to what is happening on your campus. Before the police arrive, they can know who is in the building and where any potential perpetrators may be. While traditional alarm companies might offer you a panic button, they can’t verify what is happening on your campus as Sonitrol can with our technology.

Sonitrol can provide unrivaled security for your school. We even offer fire detection monitoring. This summer break let us handle your school campus security needs. For a free quote, call us today at 1-800-444-1191 to have one of our security professionals assess your school’s security risks and recommend a tailored solution to protect your school, students, and teachers.

safe schools

 

 

Listen back – Will all my employees have their own code?

Listen back – the place where you can come to find your security solutions!

This question comes from Launi in Evansville, IN:

Launi asks:  Will all my employees have to use the same code or can I give them individual codes?security solutions

First decide who really needs a code.  If an employee come into work, after you open and leaves before everyone else, they probably don’t need a code.  The less people that have a code, the easier it will be to manage your system.  The easier it is to manage your system, the more secure your system will be.

Once you have decided who needs a code, give everyone their own.  By issuing a different user code for everyone,  you give everyone their own security identity.  When they arm or disarm the system, the system will record who armed it and time stamp it.  The system then keeps a record of all activity.  If you have chosen Sonitrol of Evansville as your service provider, we will email you free activity reports at your request.  On certain systems you can view these reports online.  Some of these systems even allow you to add and delete users on your smart phone or smart device.

Last piece of advice – for the most secure system possible, make sure that you keep your information updated.  If an employee retires or leaves, delete them.  Do not reissue their number to a new employee.  Ask you security provider to send you a user report from time to time.  Once again, if you have Sonitrol of Evansville, you can have these automatically emailed to you weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, even annually.  Even if you have excellent employee retention, you still want to review your user report and call list (updated call list; VERY very important) to make sure this information is current.

Launi, I hope we have answered your question.

Do you have a question about security systems?  Email us at info@sonitrolev.com.

 

 

 

Listen Back – Battery power and your security service

In an effort to help you make informed decisions when looking into a security system, we have started the following series:

Listen Back – You ask, we answer:

Our first question comes from Josh B in Evansville, IN.

Josh asks a two-part question:

If the power goes out, does it switch over to battery use?  For how long?security service

Thanks for the question Josh.

We can’t speak for everyone, but at Sonitrol of Evansville, we put back up batteries in all of our alarm panels.  When the power goes out, the equipment we use automatically provides power with in 10 seconds.  Typically the power transfer occurs without notice and it happens very quickly.

How long the battery will last is based upon several different factors.

  1. Age of the battery – Rechargeable batteries are used in all the security systems we install.  Battery capacity does diminish over time.  As it is used and recharged, the capacity can be reduced.  Best practice is that these batteries should be replaced every 5 years for maximum protection.
  2. Also a factor is how much your system is being used.  If you arm or disarm the system, this will require power from the battery.  If you have push notifications to see when a door opens, this requires battery.  If your system is set to test during the time the power is out, this will require battery.

Basically you should have approximately 4-6 hours of battery power before the battery will need to be replaced.

While our operators may suspect the power to be out in your area, we will never assume that you know the power is out.  It is our standard operating procedure to contact you on a power outage.  That way you can take the steps necessary to get power restored as quickly as possible without any loss of coverage.  If we are your security service provider, we will also let you know if your system communicates that the battery is low.

Josh, I hope this answers your questions.

If you have questions, post them to our Facebook page or email us at info@sonitrolev.com so we can get those answered for you!

 

Don’t defeat your security service!

Are you defeating your own security service?!

As a business owner, you took a great deal of time in this investment.  You had a choose a security company that would work for you.  You probably negotiated some pricing.  You paid for equipment and now a monthly fee to have the system monitored.  The last thing you want to do is make your system worthless!

Where are your codes?

If you have something similar to the picture below, you might need to make some changes:

Security ServiceWith this little post-it, every one that passes will know how to disarm your system without causing an alarm.  Just because the keypad may not be visible to the public, doesn’t mean this is a good idea.  By posting these instructions, you give disarming rights to every vendor, contractor, delivery person and visitor that passes this area.  Best practice:

  • Do not write the code on the wall, keypad or any where around the keypad
  • Choose a code that you do not have to write.
  • If you have to write it down, make sure it is kept on your person in a secure location.  When you disarm the system, have it out and ready to use .  This will prevent you from causing an alarm and having the police dispatched unnecessarily.
  • TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE to properly use the system.

If you feel uneasy about disarming the system using a code, talk to your security service provider about other items that can be added to your integrated security system. Some systems can be disarmed with the simple swipe of a card or fob.

Not arming your security system

You paid for it, please use it.  The only thing worse than a burglary would be a burglary where someone didn’t arm the system and the police weren’t dispatched.  Sometimes it’s just plain forgetfulness after a long day at work.  If you have an older system, see if your provider can give you a call at a certain time if the system isn’t armed.  OR, see about getting an app for your phone so if someone does accidentally leave the system disarmed, you can arm the system from your smart phone.

Let users be their own person

Is everyone using the same code to arm and disarm the system?  By issuing everyone their own code, your provider will be able to tell you who disarmed the system and when.  Here at Sonitrol of Evansville, we send free reports to you via email when requested if you need to review activity.  Of course, if you have the app, not only can you see who arms and disarms, but some systems will instantly notify you on your phone.

For more tips on how to maximize the use of your security service, contact us.

CSI LIES – Online camera systems can’t do that!

online cameraThe CSI investigator flips a switch, waves his hand, pulls up an online camera at a city intersection and the grainy image instantly clears up identifying the license plate number of the suspect’s car that passed the camera 6 months ago.

Unfortunately, that’s not how this works; that’s not how any of this works…

Cameras are everywhere.  You can purchase an online camera system, a big box store system, a system from a local business…but in the end, you want to get the most for your money. Having a plan of attack, will save you time, money and most of all…frustration!

First, figure out why and how you will be using your cameras. The only thing worse than a theft at your business is not being able to use the camera footage. Here are some questions you need to ask before you waste any money.

Will you use them: for detection, recognition or identification?

This is the single MOST important question to ask.

Detection – Most inexpensive, online camera systems on the market today will detect the presence of a person. However, if the camera catches a crime in progress, the footage may be dark, grainy and discolored, rendering the footage useless.  These cameras work well for businesses that hire security guards to watch cameras or for a professionally monitored security system.

Recognition – If you have a business, you probably wish you could clone yourself at different times. The truth is you can’t be everywhere…but with cameras you can at least watch. With these cameras, the faces aren’t crystal clear.  But these cameras allow the owner to recognize employees, vendors and customers.

Identification – If you plan on using your security camera footage protect your assets after business hours you probably want to spend the extra money and invest in these cameras.  These high definition cameras provide a clear picture in situations where you need to see faces and license plates to help apprehend a criminal and get your property returned to you.

What are you watching?

Definition of frustration – investing in a camera system, having a crime happen on your property, and it’s just two feet OUTSIDE the view of the cameras.  Field of view is everything.  You may need to only see down an ally, where you can use a 70 degree angle camera and save some money.  If you’re watching the entire parking lot, you might need a 180 degree view.  If you’re watching an entire city block, invest in a 360 degree camera.

Last but EXTREMELY important to your purchase – customer service

So you spend your hard earned money on an online camera system. You invest a couple days putting up the cameras, flip the switch and it’s black!  You retrace your steps, follow each wire, push every button, flip the switch and it’s black! <insert bad words here> You find the toll free number on the back of the box, make a call, answered by 45 minutes of elevator music, and “George” answers the phone, reads a script, which includes: flip the switch. And it’s black. <insert more bad words here> You can be the best do-it-yourselfer in the world, but what if there is a problem with the equipment that a professional needs to trouble shoot?  Calling a trusted company that not only helps you design your perfect camera system but stands behind their product is invaluable!  They can even install it for you and let you run your business.  If a problem arises with time, having that direct phone number to connect you with a knowledgeable representative will save you time, money and frustration!

For more information on building your perfect camera system for the least amount of money, contact one of our knowledgeable representative.

Give me the best security system price…

One of the first questions many people ask a security provider is “How much does it cost?” To answer this simple question, let me explain some general guidelines for pricing a security system.

dollar-home-questionInvesting in a security system is much like purchasing a new car. Depending on what you want, the price can change dramatically. You can purchase a new basic model Chevy Silverado for $25,000.  Now add the comfortable options, such as power windows, air conditioning, MP3 player capabilities, heated seats, leather interior and built-in navigation and the price can quickly reach $40,000. Why would someone invest in these additional options considering they may sell or trade the vehicle in 5 years?  Americans spend an average of 2 and 1/2 hours a day in their car, and they want to enjoy this time. They understand that they are making an investment and they don’t want to regret their decision down the road. Likewise, you are making an investment on keeping the things you value secure. A security system should be built to not only be accommodating to the user, but do the job in the worst case scenario. Unfortunately, many people just focus on the price per month. They want the cheapest, quickest system possible, sacrificing quality equipment, quick system communication to authorities and great customer service if these problems arise. There really is no such thing as a cookie cutter price if you are truly interested in a system that works. You need the best security system!

Now let’s look at some security system options that you may want to investigate before you purchase a system:

Choose the way you want your system to communicate

    1. IP – Also know as internet protocol. If you have high speed internet this method is for you. It eliminates the need for a phone line. Communications are automatically tested every 15 – 30 minutes to ensure an alarm will be properly received.
    2. Cellular – Also known as cell. If you have a cell signal where you want to install your system, this is another excellent way to communicate alarms. You can’t cut a cell phone line.  If you go with IP or dial-up, a cell backup is an excellent option to ensure alarms have back-up communication.
    3. Dial-up – If you do not have internet or cell signal in your area, you will need a dial-up panel. Make sure you get one that sends a test signal once a day to your central station.  Otherwise, you risk not having your system communicate until your provider’s next test which could be up to 30 days.

Keys or no keys – access

All systems today, from a simple home system to a complex office building can take advantage of this option. Users are provided with key fobs, similar to the one pictured here. You can use these fobs to open your home or business. You can arm and disarm your system in one small wave. You can also have them scheduled to only disarm the system at certain times. So if you have a business that doesn’t require your employees to be there after business hours, or you just want to keep your teenagers honest, these fobs are an excellent idea for you.

Cameras

Cameras have played an important part in our society in the last few years. From catching the suspected Boston Marathon bombers to busting the teenage party while mom and dad were away, cameras are becoming a popular security option. And with recent technological advances, a person can view live footage from their computer, laptop or smartphone. Investing in a good quality camera, with a great warranty versus the cheap warehouse store version can save you money, time and hassle down the road.

Water and Fire

Along with security, cameras, and key fobs, many companies also offer fully integrated systems that allow you to add fire and water monitoring to your business and home protection. While you may not want these options now, check to see that the system you are installing will support your complete wish list if you decide you want to add them later.

Whether you are installing a system in your home or business, you can not put a dollar amount on true peace of mind.

If we can answer questions about our systems, please feel free to contact us.

School security systems – Do they violate students rights?

Last week, one of the local Evansville radio stations, Hot 96 Morning Show, encouraged listeners to call the station and weigh in on how to keep our schools safe. There was an active member of the military that said schools should allow veterans to stand guard at the doors.  Another caller recommended arming teachers. One parent commented that it was just too easy to walk into her child’s school. With all the security measures that are being set in place, do school security systems violate students rights?

No matter where you stand on the remedies of securing our schools, we can all agree on these two points:

  1. Every young person attending school should have a safe environment to learn
  2. Staff and faculty should be free to teach and work without the worry of violence

This year, Governor Quinn of Illinois awarded $25 million to Illinois schools to increase school security systems. Governor Pence of Indiana awarded $9 million to Indiana schools for security.  This money has been granted to provide equipment from solid doors to IP cameras. There are many misconceptions about cameras, security systems and other security solutions.  Having a community “pow-wow” can relieve some of those worries.  Here are some talking points:

video_icon

 IP Cameras

Possibly the biggest complaint regarding school security systems are that cameras violate students rights. Students can feel like they are being watched with someone waiting for them to make a mistake. However educating parents, teachers, staff and even students about the cameras can quell the mixed emotions.

  1. Cameras are a deterrent – It’s a common fact, that if someone thinks they are being watched, they are less likely to commit an act that will result in a disciplinary action. Remind everyone that these aren’t secret cameras.  They will be placed around the school in key areas to prevent mischief.
  2. Confirmation of good conduct – While it is true that bad conduct will be caught on tape, it can also show of good behavior. The only thing worse than being wrongfully accused of a crime is being punished for that crime! A camera can confirm who was involved in an incident and the extent to which they were involved.
  3. Property safety –  When school property is burglarized or vandalized, repairs waste valuable time and district funds that could be working for students. Some school property is the result of countless hours of volunteering by staff, parents and students. When this property is destroyed it’s disheartening for those who have worked so hard to help support their school. And when it’s personal property, whether it’s a staff members wallet or a student’s phone, the hurt is multiplied by 100 times! Cameras are there to catch someone doing wrong. Hopefully, by identifying the wrong doer, any stolen property can be returned. There is no stopping every vandal. But making an example out of one, will be a deterrent for others.

access_icon Access Systems

Access doors can be added to school security systems to minimize unwanted visitors while school is in session. These systems, by law, DO NOT LOCK STUDENTS INSIDE THE SCHOOL. All doors must be unlocked from the inside should a fire or other emergency occur. Access systems will lock down the outer perimeter of the school. All visitors must enter through the front door. With the school locked down to outside foot traffic, school personnel can carefully monitor who enters the school. Most schools require parents to send in a form at the beginning of the year with the names of who can pick up their children. Having visitors show photo identification and sign a visitor log, confirms to parents that ONLY people they authorize can sign their children out of school.

intrusion_icon School Security Systems with Verified Audio

“But they can hear inside the school!” Many districts are adding verified audio to their school security systems because of the ability to provide schools with 100% coverage. Audio systems also help law enforcement by reducing false alarms caused by animals and inanimate objects. However, some may see this as “listening in”. To prevent this misconception, here are a few points you may want highlight:

  1. Audio Systems must be activated to hear inside the school. The system must be armed and “tripped” for the audio to turn on. So someone has to make a noise like break a window, or come through a door, while the system is armed for operators to hear inside the building. The audio will also be activated by a panic button. Every panic alarmed is treated like the user is in immediate trouble! When a panic button is pushed, police are dispatched without delay.
  2. Operators cannot turn on the audio sensors or listen inside without an activation. Verified audio systems must be activated for operators to hear inside the building.

If you know a school that is looking into options on how to further secure staff and students, please contact us to set up a free demonstration.